Words by Gábor Kőhalmi

Photos by Daniel Králik

This past weekend's Monster Energy Fridge Festival in Budapest, Hungary was a spectacular event, as the 32 riders on the start list took to the scary-looking ramp to showcase their skills to an excited crowd. The weather was a bit cold, so the snow on the ramp became icy, and the fans went to get some shots a bit too often, but we had nothing to complain about.

Budapest, Hungary

The venue was amazing, with the closeness of the Heroes Square, the two museum buildings and the Vajdahunyad Castle behind the ramp giving the festival an amazing environment in the middle of the capital of Hungary. By the time finals came around, as more and more people approached the festival, a pretty decent crowd had gathered around the ramp, giving a great atmosphere to the freeski event. The festival's full capacity, with the ramp area, smaller stages, the party arena and the retail village was about 12,000 people, making it a full house on Saturday.

Tom Wallisch

Around 3pm, more and more people started to gather around the landing zone as the riders began their practice jumps. One hour later the qualification rounds began, where Kai Mahler qualified first with a dub cork 1260 mute, PK Hunder took second during one of the last jumps in the round, and Gus Kenworthy went on to the finals in third. Almost all of the top eight qualifiers threw double cork 10s and 12s, but the question of the night was: are we going to see a 1440? The answer arrived during the finals.

Qualification Results

1) Kai Mahler - 87.25

2) PK Hunder - 84.75

3) Gus Kenworthy - 84.25

4) Ole Mustad - 83.5

5) Klaus Finne - 83.5

6) Jonas Hunziker - 83.5

7) Elvis Harsheim - 82.75

8) Elias Ambühl - 82.5

cut-off

9) JF Houle - 81.5

10) PC Fosse - 81.5

11) Fridtjof Fredricsson - 80.25

12) Jeremy Pancras - 79

13) Antti Ollila - 76.75

14) Tom Wallish - 76.5

15) Sig Tveit - 74

16) Nico Vuignier - 70.75

Birdyman then started to refresh the crowd right after the qualification round. His crazy beatbox and DJ techniques really shook them up, so everybody was ready to see the best eight skiers of the night. With almost 1,000 people watching, Elias Ambühl was the first to kick off the finals with a nicely carried out dub cork 1260, which after several jumps did not seem to be enough for the gold. All of the riders then started going crazy, with amazing style and technical tricks. One of the sickest was Gus Kenworthy's dub cork 1260 blunt, along with Klaus Finne's double cork offering, who entered the contest with only minutes to spare. Each rider was given three jumps in finals, with the best two tricks counting.

Pepé Kalensky

During the second run, most of the riders started taking risks by attempting very difficult tricks and grabs, so many a crashes went down, most notably from Kai Mahler and Gus Kenworthy. The most amazing trick was courtesy of Elias Ambühl, who answered our question with an attempted double cork 1440 mute. The ramp itself was not the biggest in terms of stadium big airs, so Elias had to spin like helicopter, but he unfortunately didn't have enough time to land, causing him to crash on his first attempt at the feat.

Antti Ollila

It was then time for the third and final run, a chance for the riders to correct their mistakes. It was breathtaking to see all of the reckless faces on the big screen, standing on the the top of the ramp concentrating for their last jump. It was Elias who came first, setting the standard with a perfectly executed dub cork 1440 mute. The spin was so fast that he was able to open up a bit before the last rotation to concentrate on the landing, which was solid as a rock. Elias received 91 points for his efforts, while the highest point was 87 so far, which sent the crowd into a frenzy as Luke Van Valin's voice filled the air with laudatory words. Following that, all of the riders gave their best, but nobody could score higher than Elias, who was the winner by far. After successfully defending his title in Budapest, Elias was ready, willing and able to kick off the party with the international riders and the local crew, Freeski Maffia, and an amazing night was had by all.

Colby James West

Final Results

1) Elias Ambühl - 182.5

2) Kai Mahler - 167.5

3) PK Hunder - 166

4) Gus Kenworthy - 160.5

5) Klaus Finne - 160

6) Elvis Harsheim - 151.8

7) Jonas Hunziker - 146.8

8) Ole Mustad - 113


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